Lighthouses of the United States: Mississippi
The U.S. state of Mississippi has a short coastline facing
the Gulf of Mexico northeast of New Orleans, Louisiana. The state's coast
is low and sandy, with a partial fringe of barrier islands offshore. Pascagoula is the most important port on the coast.
On 29 August 2005, Hurricane Katrina devastated the coastline
of Mississippi with one of the highest storm surges on record. The Biloxi
lighthouse withstood the storm, as it has so many others, but there was
significant damage to its interior brick lining. The Ship Island lighthouse replica
was destroyed. The Round Island Light, which had been under restoration
after being overturned by Hurricane Georges in 1998, was overturned a
second time. This left Mississippi with only a single standing historic
lighthouse. However, the Round Island Light has been rebuilt at an onshore site in Pascagoula and Gulfport has built a marina lighthouse inspired by the Ship Island Light.
Navigational aids in the United States are operated by the U.S. Coast Guard, but ownership (and sometimes operation) of historic lighthouses has been transferred to local authorities and preservation organizations in many cases. Mississippi lights are the responsibility of the Coast Guard's Eighth District.
ARLHS numbers are from the ARLHS
World List of Lights. Admiralty numbers are from volume J of the
Admiralty List of Lights & Fog Signals. USCG numbers are from
Volume IV of the U.S. Coast Guard Light List.
- General Sources
- Photos and historical accounts by Kraig Anderson.
- Online List of Lights - Mississippi
- Photos by various photographers posted by Alexander Trabas.
Lighthouse People - Mississippi
- Reports and photos from visits by Bob and Sandra Shanklin.
- Lighthouses in Mississippi
- Photos by various photographers available from Wikimedia.
Light Station Information and Photography - Mississippi
- Information and historic photos posted by the U.S. Coast Guard.
and Islands of the Gulf
- Articles about historic lighthouses of the Pass Christian area, written
and posted by Dan Ellis.
USA auf historischen Postkarten
- Historic postcard images posted by Klaus Huelse.
- NOAA Nautical Chart On-Line Viewer: Gulf Coast
- Nautical charts for the coast can be viewed online.
- U.S. Coast Guard Navigation Center: Light Lists
- The USCG Light List can be downloaded in pdf format.
Biloxi Light, Biloxi, June 2010
Flickr Creative Commons photo
by Natalie Maynor
- Jackson County (Pascagoula Area) Lighthouses
- Horn Island Pass Range Rear
- 1961. Active; focal plane 94 ft (29 m); white light, 3 s on, 3 s off, visible
only on the range line. There is also a passing light, white flash every 4
s, at a focal plane of 40 ft (12 m). 94 ft (29 m) 2-stage skeletal tower, lower part square and upper part triangular, mounted on a square platform supported by piles. The tower carries
a rectangular daymark colored red with a white vertical stripe. No photo available,
but Bing has a satellite
view. Horn Island Pass, the channel between Petit Bois Island to the east
and Horn Island to the west, is the entrance to Pascagoula. The pass was marked
by the Horn
Island lighthouse from 1874 to 1906, and then by the Petit Bois Island
lighthouse from 1908 until the range was established in 1961. Lighthouse Digest has Timothy Harrison's July 2011 article on the history of these lights. Located in Mississippi
Sound off the northwestern tip of Petit Bois Island. Accessible only by boat.
Site open, tower closed. Admiralty J3558.1; USCG 4-7900.
- Pascagoula Range D Rear (Petit Bois Island)
- Date unknown. Active; focal plane 60 ft (18 m); white light, 3 s on, 3 s
off, visible only on the range line. 59 ft (18 m) triangular skeletal tower. The tower carries a rectangular daymark colored red with a white vertical
stripe. No photo available, but Bing has a satellite
view. This light is close to the former location of the Petit Bois Island
lighthouse. Located on the west end of Petit Bois Island. Accessible only
by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty J3561.1; USCG 4-7970.
- Pascagoula Range B Rear
- Date unknown. Active; focal plane 64 ft (19.5 m); white light occulting
once every 4 s, visible only on the range line. 64 ft (19.5 m) tapered triangular skeletal
tower, mounted on a square platform supported by piles. There
is also a passing light, white flash every 4 s, at a focal plane of 12 ft
(3.5 m). The tower carries a rectangular daymark colored red with a white
vertical stripe. No photo available, but Bing has a satellite view. Located in Mississippi Sound about halfway
between the Pascagoula waterfront and Petit Bois Island. Accessible only
by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty J3564.1; USCG 4-8100.
- * Bayou Casotte Range A Rear
- Date unknown. Active; focal plane 83 ft (25 m); green light by night and
white light by day, 3 s on, 3 s off, visible only on the range line. Approx.
75 ft (23 m) square cylindrical skeletal tower. Google
has a street view and a satellite
view. Bayou Casotte is an industrial harbor basin on the east side of
Pascagoula. Located in an industrial area on the west side of the bayou. Site
and tower closed, but the light is seen at the end of Bayou Casotte Parkway. Admiralty J3571.31; USCG 4-8400.
- Pascagoula Range A Rear
- Date unknown. Active; focal plane 95 ft (29 m); red light by night and white
light by day, 3 s on, 3 s off, visible only on the range line. There is also
a passing light, white flash every 4 s, at the same focal plane. 59 ft (18
m) 2-stage skeletal tower, lower part square and upper part triangular, mounted on a square platform supported
by piles. The tower carries a rectangular daymark colored red with a white
vertical stripe. No photo available, but Bing has a good satellite
view. This is the primary range guiding vessels from Horn Island Pass to Pascagoula. Located in Mississippi Sound about 2 miles (3 km) south of the Pascagoula
waterfront and 3 miles (5 km) east of Round Island. Accessible only by boat.
Site open, tower closed. Admiralty J3562.1; USCG 4-7995.
- ** Round
Island (2) (rebuilt)
- 1859 (station established 1833). Inactive since 1944 (a decorative white light is displayed). 50 ft (15
m) brick tower with lantern, painted white; lantern painted black. Christopher Mardorf's April 2015 photo is at right, John Corbett has a November 2013 photo, the Coast
Guard has a historic
photo, and Huelse has a historic postcard view. Google has a satellite
view of the former location of the lighthouse and a July 2013 street view and another satellite view of the reconstruction ongoing at the new site. Anderson's photos
show the lighthouse as it appeared in 1998, but on September 27 of
that year the lighthouse was overturned
by Hurricane Georges. The Round
Island Lighthouse Preservation Society was quickly formed to
carry out a restoration. In 1999 the overturned lighthouse base
was righted and stabilized with a steel caisson. In March 2000
a protective breakwater was completed. This work came to nought
in 2005 when Hurricane Katrina overturned the lighthouse a second
time, washing out the caisson. This put an end to the effort to
rebuild the lighthouse on its original location; it was decided
to rebuild it onshore in Pascagoula. In August 2009, Pascagoula City Council approved
rebuilding the lighthouse on the east side of the Pascagoula River
just south of the US 90 bridge. In December the state Department
of Archives and History agreed to allow a previously-awarded grant
of $250,000 to be used for the reconstruction. The reconstruction is in concrete, faced with as much of the original
brick as could be salvaged. Work began
in 2010; in mid-July the salvaged base of the lighthouse arrived at the
new site, and in December it was installed on its new foundation. In July 2012 the replica lantern also arrived on the site. In August, the city awarded a $636,000 contract to complete the rebuilding. In May 2013 the replica of the original lantern was installed, and by the end of July the brickwork was complete. The lighthouse was rededicated in October 2013. In September 2014, the city council approved a $166,485 project to complete the interior of the lighthouse. Work was underway in October 2014 and was completed during 2015; a grand opening was held on 13 November. In early 2016 the city was seeking a part-time keeper and tour guide for the lighthouse. Located in a city park on the east side of the Pascagoula River
just south of the US 90 bridge. Site open, tower open for guided tours on Fridays and Saturdays. Owner/site manager: City
of Pascagoula (Round Island Lighthouse ) ARLHS USA-711.
Reconstructed Round Island Light, Pascagoula, April 2015
U.S. FEMA public domain photo by Christopher Mardorf
- Pascagoula Range C Rear
- Date unknown. Active; focal plane 122 ft (37 m); continuous red light. 115 ft (35 m) triangular skeletal tower. No closeup photo available, but Google has a satellite view and a distant street view from the bridge to Singing River Island. Located in the Ingalls Shipbuilding shipyard on the west side of the Pascagoula River. Site and tower closed. Site manager: Ingalls Shipbuilding. Admiralty J3566.1; USCG 4-8115.
Harrison County (Biloxi and Gulfport Area) Lighthouses
- *** Biloxi
- 1848. Active (maintained by City of Biloxi); focal plane 61 ft
(18.5 m); white light occulting every 4 s. 61 ft (18.5 m) cast iron
tower (brick lined), 5th order Fresnel
lens (1926). Entire structure painted white, except for the
black balustrade. The keeper's houses were destroyed by Hurricane
Camille in 1969. Natalie Maynor's photo is at the top of this page, the City
of Biloxi has a web page for the lighthouse and a portfolio of photos,
Trabas has Michael Boucher's photo, Jack Richie has a nice photo,
Wikimedia has photos, the Coast Guard has an 1892
photo and a 1965
photo, Huelse has a historic postcard
view, and Google has a street view and a satellite
view. This is the second-oldest cast iron lighthouse
in the U.S. The tower interior was restored in 1990, but
the tower was closed in 2002 due to safety concerns. In
August 2003, a consultant's report recommended resumption
of tours with certain safety restrictions. The tower had
been scheduled to reopen in the fall of 2005, but the destruction
of most of the city of Biloxi by Hurricane Katrina put these
plans on indefinite hold. The day after the hurricane, someone
fastened a flag to the gallery rail, as shown at right.
The flag continued to fly there for four years as a symbol
of the city's determination to rebuild. Although the lighthouse
survived the hurricane, its interior brick lining was damaged
and required extensive repair. Although federal disaster
relief funds were available for this work, there was a lengthy
period of planning and negotiation. Work finally began in
the summer of 2009 and was completed in early 2010. The lighthouse
was relit in ceremonies on February 19. Meanwhile, the city
bought land across the street, where the hurricane had destroyed
all the structures, for a lighthouse park and Visitors Center .
Work on that facility began in late 2009 and and the center opened in August 2011. The lighthouse stands in the median of US 90
at the foot of Porter Street in Biloxi, just west of the
I-110 interchange. Site and visitor center open daily; tower open for tours in the early morning
(9:00-9:30 am) daily year round, weather permitting. Owner/site manager: City
of Biloxi. ARLHS USA-056; Admiralty J3578; USCG 4-8955.
Biloxi Light flies the U.S. flag after Hurricane Katrina,
31 August 2005
City of Biloxi photo
- * Broadwater
- 1965(?). Status unknown (privately maintained); focal plane 67 ft (30 m);
white flash every 5 s. Approx. 66 ft (20 m) cylindrical tower with gallery
and an open lantern structure. Larry Myhre's photo is at right, and Google has a street view and a satellite
view. This lighthouse was part of the President Casino Broadwater Resort,
which was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. A June 2006 photo by J. Michael Byrd and a March 2007 photo by C.W. Bash show that the lighthouse survived the hurricane, but the marina
it marked has vanished completely. The lighthouse is apparently active; it continues to be listed on the USCG Light List. Located on the 2000 block of Beach Boulevard (US
90) about 4 mi (6 km) west of the historic Biloxi Light, near Beauvoir. Site
open, tower closed. Owner/site manager: unknown. ARLHS USA-1240; USCG 4-9570.
- #Ship Island
- 2000 (replica of 1886 tower) (station established 1853). Destroyed by Hurricane
Katrina in August 2005. Previously a 70 ft (21 m ) square pyramidal wood
tower, painted white; gallery and lantern painted black. The Coast Guard has a historic
photo of the original 1886 lighthouse, and Huelse has a historic postcard view. Deactivated in 1964, it burned
to the ground in June 1972. The Shanklins have a photo (third photo on the page) showing the dilapidated appearance of the tower shortly before it burned. In 1999-2000 the lighthouse was rebuilt on the original foundation by the Friends of the Gulf Islands National Seashore. Lighthouse Digest has a story on the history of the light station and its reconstruction, and Weyland Yutani
has a May 2004 photo.
view shows that the foundation of the lighthouse is still visible. The original 4th order Fresnel
lens (1856) had been on display at the Maritime
and Seafood Industry Museum in Biloxi, but the museum was also destroyed
by Katrina. The prisms of the lens were recovered and sent to the St.
Augustine Lighthouse Museum in Florida for restoration. By late 2009
the reassembled lens was on display in St. Augustine, and in April 2010
the lens was returned to Mississippi. Reconstruction of the museum began in early 2013, and it reopened in 2014. ARLHS USA-756; ex-USCG 4-0337.
- * Ship
- 1971. Active; focal plane 84 ft (25.5 m); white flash every 6 s. 80 ft (24
m) square pyramidal steel skeletal tower, built to replace the burned 1886
lighthouse. The tower also carries a large slatted daymark, colored red with
a white vertical stripe. The daymark is associated with the Gulfport Upper
Reach Outbound Range Rear Light, which shows a white light, 3 s on, 3 s off,
visible only on the range line, at a focal plane of 81 ft (24.5 m). Google
has a satellite
view. This lighthouse survived the hurricane. Ship Island itself was flooded
and reshaped by Katrina, but some of the visitor facilities have been rebuilt.
Located on West Ship Island near Fort Massachusetts. Accessible March through
October by passenger ferry (toll) from
Gulfport. Site open, tower closed. Owner: U.S. Coast Guard. Site manager:
U.S. National Park Service (Gulf Islands
National Seashore). ARLHS USA-1141; Admiralty J3602.8; USCG 4-0335.
Broadwater Beach Marina Light, Biloxi, April 2010
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Larry Myhre
- Ship Island Pass Range Rear
- Date unknown. Active; focal plane 117 ft (35.5 m); white light occulting
once every 4 s, visible only on the range line. 117 ft (35.5 m) 2-stage square
skeletal tower, lower stage cylindrical and upper stage pyramidal, painted
white and mounted on a square platform supported by piles. There is also
a passing light, white flash every 4 s, at a focal plane of 43 ft (13 m).
No photo available, and the tower is not visible in Bing's distant satellite view. Ship Island Pass is the channel between Ship Island on
the east and Cat Island on the west. Located in the pass about 2.5 miles
(4 km) east of the northeastern point of Cat Island. Accessible only by boat.
Site open, tower closed. USCG 4-9710.
- * Gulfport Upper Reach Inbound
Range Rear (2)
- 2006 (?). Active; focal plane 81 ft (25 m); red light occulting once
every 4 s. Approx. 75 ft (23 m) pyramidal skeletal tower. Google has a street view and a satellite
view. Gulfport's harbor is a containership port. The Upper Reach is a
dredged channel straight across Mississippi Sound from the Gulfport wharves
to the Ship Island lighthouse (which carries the outbound rear range light).
The light must have been replaced following Hurricane Katrina, which
swept the dock area clean; a photo of the damage is available. Located on the south side of Beach Boulevard at
the entrance to the dock area, near 27th Avenue. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty J3628.1;
- * Gulfport Harbor (2)
- 2011. Active (maintained by the city government); focal plane 14 m (46 ft); white flash every 4 s. 15 m (49 ft) square tower with lantern and gallery, supported by four legs. Lighthouse painted white, lantern and gallery black. A 2013 photo is at right, Eric Kennedy has a photo, another photo is available, and Google has a satellite view. Designed as a replica of the Ship Island Lighthouse, the tower straddles the entrance to the city's new marina. Construction of the lighthouse was part of the city's redevelopment of the harbor area following its destruction by Hurricane Katrina. The light replaces a former skeletal tower. Located at the entrance to the Gulfport Marina. Owner/operator: City of Gulfport. Site manager: Gulfport Marina. USCG 4-10020.
- 1871 (station established 1831). Ruined platform of the cottage screwpile lighthouse. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. The original brick lighthouse, heavily damaged during the Civil War, was replaced by a cottage screwpile lighthouse in 1871. The lantern installed on the 1831 lighthouse in 1859 was transferred to the Tchefuncte River Lighthouse in Louisiana, where it survives. The 1871 lighthouse was deactivated in 1937. Sold in 1950 but left in place, it burned in 1961. There is no light in the area today. Located off the western tip of Cat Island. Accessible only by boat. Site open. ARLHS USA-145.
Hancock County (Bay St. Louis Area) Area Lighthouse
Handkerchief Shoal (Merrill's Shell Bank, Pass Marianne) (3)
- Date unknown (station established 1857). Active; three green flashes, in a 2+1 pattern, every 6 s. 17 ft (5 m) square skeletal tower
mounted on the screwpile platform of the 1883 lighthouse. Ellis has a small photo (at the bottom of the page). Huelse has a historic postcard
view of the square cottage screwpile lighthouse built in 1883 after the
1857 cottage lighthouse burned to the waterline. Note the caption "Pass
Marion" on the postcard; the light was long known locally as the Pass
Marianne Light. The lighthouse was discontinued in 1945 and subsequently demolished;
later the modern light was placed on the platform. Located on the shoal off
the entrance to Bay St. Louis, about 2.5 mi (4 km) southwest of Pass Christian.
Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS USA-491; USCG 4-10330.
Gulfport Harbor Light, Gulfport, May 2013
Flickr Creative Commons photo by GetOutAndRow
Information available on lost lighthouses:
Pascagoula River (1854-1906), mouth of the Pascagoula River. This lighthouse was destroyed by a hurricane in 1906, and nothing survives of the station. ARLHS USA-260.
Island (1874-1908), east end of Horn Island. This station was endangered from the start by rapid erosion. The original lighthouse was moved in 1880 and replaced at a new location in 1887. The second lighthouse was moved in 1900 but then destroyed by the hurricane of 1906. The light was then moved across the pass off the west end of Petit Bois Island. ARLHS USA-379.
Borgne (1889-1937), north side of the St. Joe Pass (a place still called Lighthouse Point). The original cottage screwpile lighthouse was replaced by a second cottage screwpile in 1908; the Coast Guard has a historic photo of the second light. Submerged ruins are charted, but there is no light at this location today. ARLHS USA-424.
(1828-1840), Mississippi River. Almost nothing is known about this lighthouse. It is said to have destroyed by a tornado in 1840. ARLHS USA-1142.
Christian (1831-1882), Pass Christian waterfront. The Coast Guard has a historic photo. Apparently the light tower was demolished shortly after it was deactivated in 1882. In November 2000, Lighthouse Digest reported a proposal to
build a replica of the lighthouse. These plans were shelved after Hurricane Katrina, but they might be revived. ARLHS USA-581.
- Petit Bois Island (1908-1960s?), off the west end of Petit Bois Island. Known locally as the New Horn Island Lighthouse; the Coast Guard has a historic photo. Deactivated in 1961, it has since disappeared; ruins are charted but nothing is seen in Google satellite views of the area.
Joseph Island (1861-1893), Mississippi Sound at the entrance to Lake Borgne. No photo of this lighthouse is available. It was destroyed by a hurricane in 1893. The island has been lost to erosion, but there is a small beacon on the shoal today. ARLHS USA-1026; NGA 4-34615.
Notable faux lighthouses:
Adjoining pages: East: Alabama | West: Louisiana
Return to the Lighthouse Directory
Checked and revised August 8, 2015. Lighthouses: 15. Site copyright
2015 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.